I thought it might be time to ring up Kalevi Kull, a theoretical biologist in Estonia at the University of Tartu’s Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics to talk about developments. Kull is known for his contributions to the field of biosemiotics and currently serves as president of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies. His most recent book is Towards a Semiotic Biology: Life is the Action of Signs
Suzan Mazur: Is biosemiotics an exact enough science at this point to be poking holes in the Modern Synthesis? Are the operational concepts developed enough?
Kalevi Kull: I would say they are developed as much as linguistics can be called scientific. Once you accept linguistics as a science that with operational concepts studies verbal modeling and communication in humans, then when we speak about umwelt and sign communication in other species — yes, we can study it scientifically. We are dealing not with universal laws but with rules and habits that life itself has established locally. This means an emphasis on behavior, communication, learning, creativity.
Suzan Mazur: How do organisms remember these ancient signals?
Kalevi Kull: There’s not much difference between the inheritance of the capacity to learn or the inheritance of cellular signaling. We know how it goes. So, the inheritance of the capacity to communicate — there’s nothing special here if we accept that not everything is in genes. . . . More.
Mazur is also the author of The Origin of Life Circus. Tops at UD News. Get yours today.
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